Gynec. absent, general surgeon negligent

  • Posted on: July 28, 2022

Can a general surgeon perform gynaecological procedures such as hysterectomy? Yes. But the presence of a gynaecologist is a must, ruled National Consumer Commission in this case.

The patient underwent hysterectomy performed by a general surgeon. He was assisted by an anaesthetist and another doctor who had performed pre-operative tests.

Post-operatively, the patient suffered complication of oozing of urine. The surgeon suspected it to be pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

Patient’s family was obviously worried. They took her to another hospital where another surgery was performed. Much to everyone’s relief, the complications subsided and the patient was eventually discharged from the second hospital after some days.

This matter reached the court as the patient sued the three previous doctors and first hospital.

The Consumer Commission went through the medical records and held the doctors and hospital negligent. The court’s observations are mentioned below:

“The doctor who performed hysterectomy is a general surgeon. Although a surgeon can perform hysterectomy but, in the team of doctors, there was no qualified gynaecologist”.

“Moreover, the diagnosis of PID is based on combination of medical history, signs and symptoms, pelvic examination, blood and urine tests. In addition, it is confirmed by ultrasound, endometrial biopsy and finally by diagnostic laparoscopy. However, in this case, the treating doctors just relied on medical history, signs and symptoms to diagnose PID. Only in acute cases of PID, the surgical intervention is required. The first choice of treatment should be by antibiotics which was not done by the treating doctors. As discussed, there was no gynaecologist to examine the patient and diagnose PID”.

The doctors were ordered to collectively pay compensation of five lakh rupees to the patient.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 15th February, 2022.